The Optimists

An image of a circle, the inner rings show an image of an audience from behind, the image is black, orange and white.

China Plate’s unique training opportunity for emerging theatre makers and producers.

“The knowledge, guidance, and resources (given) over the complete course are simply amazing. I have grown as an artist, producer, and all-round theatre-maker, and learned a plethora of transferable skills along the way.” – Optimists Alumni

Are you an emerging producer or theatre-maker hoping to develop your professional producing skills in the subsidised theatre sector?

The Optimists offers an introduction to the craft of producing theatre in a professional context and building professional networks by de-mystifying the financial, administrative and organisational aspects of producing. Drawing on China Plate’s extensive experience and real examples, the Optimists provides knowledge and insight on the practicalities of making, funding, touring and promoting your work.

“The Optimists is invaluable for anyone wanting to navigate the arts industry. I have learned more than I could imagine possible and met so many inspiring (and very useful!) contacts.”Optimist Alumni.

The Optimists course is led by China Plate, with the support of guest industry experts and speakers.

Our current Optimists course will run from April-June 2021 – this course is now full and we are not accepting further applications.

Our next Optimists course is planned for Spring 2022, with applications opening towards the end of this year. Do keep an eye out for further information on our website, newsletter and social media channels.

For more information, please email

ACE Lottery Funded logo, reads 'Supported using public funding by Arts Council England'

The Optimists Spring 2021 Online Course

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Applications are now CLOSED for The Optimists online course

Dates: April – June 2021

The Spring 2021 Optimists is being delivered online. The course is aimed at freelancers working in the theatre sector whose opportunities to produce work and gain practical experience as a producer have been affected by the COVID19 pandemic.

This foundation course will consist of ten x3 hour long online webinars taking place over 9 weeks, for up to 20 participants.

Topics will include:

  • New ideas and how to articulate them
  • Expenditure
  • Income
  • Fundraising: including Arts Council England, trusts and foundations and other sources
  • Administration: budgets, contracts, company setup, general management, theatre tax relief
  • Working inclusively and Access
  • Audiences and how to reach them
  • Venues: getting through door

Image: The 2018 Optimists cohort